Steve Dixon, a Salem (VA) Firefighter suffered a heart attack on scene of a structure fire Monday. Dixon is believed to have been venting a roof of a house fire when he became ill. He is recovering at the hospital and has undergone surgery. His family would like their privacy during his recovery from what I understand. Our thoughts and prayers are with him during this time.

The Roanoke Cop Blog is in full swing. The blog is an introspective look at what it is like to be a Roanoke Police Officer. The apparently anonymous blogger writes about life on the street working the beat in Roanoke. The writings are unlike this blog in that he writes about his day to day job and what he experiences. Check out the blog here.

Another Cop blog that I found out about a couple of weeks ago is one written from Memphis. If some of you think that this blog is bad at times you need to check out MPD Enforcer 2.0. The blog has uncovered supposed crime and cover ups within the Memphis PD.

As for me, I have been overwhelmed with a lot of things recently. That is why the blog is somewhat stagnant.

Roanoke City just hired at least one. Apparently, Mark Altman the son of Chief Altman was hired today. There isn’t any word on any other hirings.

There have been some fires recently. The Sofa Warehouse on Williamson Road and the McDonald’s on Orange are two of them. I cannot stress enough that in these times of companies out of service you need to be careful. The recent jobs have been put out quickly, you just never know when the shit will hit the fan.

Someone recently pointed out to me the amount of Opticoms out of service. For those who don’t know, the opticom system turns the lights green when we come to them running emergency. This helps alleviate the traffic backup and gets us through the light quicker. Why haven’t these been fixed. I know of a couple which have been out of service in 13′s first due for around 6 years.

Remember that the Council Meeting is Monday May 12th at 2pm. We are meeting at Noon at the Union Hall. Call me if you have questions.

These past two weeks have been interesting. There have been a lot of comments that have offered more insight to the events which have consumed most of the Roanoke Firefighters lives. I have heard from a lot of firefighters as well as their wives and even some parents and children. The common theme is that we are on the right track. I think it can be summed up by this one comment which I will quote:

let me give you an old saying to answer your question as to why you shouldn’t listen to the chief.
“all of us are smarter than one of us”
think about it

On another note…I have gotten a lot of phone calls about the Administrative Chiefs actually staffing trucks this past week. Chief 2 ran on Engine 10, Chief 3 and BC5 ran at Station 1, Chief 1 ran as BC 2, BC 3 and Captain Dillon ran at Station 6. All of this is understood to have been due to Rescue Challenge being in town. Apparently we cannot even afford overtime to fill the spots on the trucks.

So this leaves a couple of questions:

  1. Are all of the Administrative positions needed?
  2. Can we really not afford any overtime?
  3. Did we finally mark out too much apparatus? (it is very common to have 2-3 engines, a ladder, and a medic truck or two out of service at any given time for whatever reason)
Worse yet…. these actions bring up some other questions about the Chiefs who filled in on the Engines/Ladders
  1. Are they all up to date with SCBA Fit testing?
  2. Are they up to date on all of our operational training.
  3. Are they up to date on all of their training.
  4. Are they up to date enough to do the job correctly and safely.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to attack their abilities. However, I remember taking an R.I.T. class which had a lot to do with communication between Incident Command and the operational divisions/groups. It was my understanding from what I have been told that many of the Chiefs had not attended. This raises questions about exactly how educated are certain personnel who could be put in the place of Incident Commander and now even as the officer on an Engine or Ladder Company.

I actually hope that everyone involved is up to date on all of the things that affect our jobs. I also hope that no corners were cut or procedures skipped. We are all held to a very high standard and we expect the same from anyone who might possibly get on the truck next to us. If you cannot understand why I bring this up on the first place, well most of the remaining firefighters who have not said a word up to now have finally joined the rest to say “What the hell is going on”.

The events of the past week or two have 250+ Firefighters scratching their heads wondering what the hell is going on. It appears as though certain people have continued to cut the fire department, were able to get City Council brainwashed into thinking it was no big deal, and then able to get a department head to say that nothing will change becoming the fall guy. I wish I had that kind of persuasion. With that kind of following and power of persuasion, I have one last thing to say….”don’t drink the cool-aid”.

As far as the morale of the firefighters and what they think, well I don’t know if it can get any worse. I hope it can’t and I hope it gets better, but it isn’t going to change in the current pace it is going.

I have more thoughts that I will get posted later in the week.

The Press Conference at Station 13 has been canceled today.

A short little note about comments. It is very easy to get your point across without using names or slander.

Stay tuned for several posts later today. A couple humorous. Actually all of them are humorous. I hope you all have a sense of humor.

HTR Training
including pictures
Wreck on 581
including pictures
Fire on Spring Hollow Avenue

Check them out and be sure to send in your news!

Also, click here for a deal on the promotional reading list books.
Save over $100.

Firegeezer » Chicago FF Local Sets Out Contract Demands

Check out the above link for what Chicago Firefighters are demanding in their contract negotiations. Sounds good to me.

I haven’t had anything to write about in the past several days. Not that I have been looking for information. I will be finished with the 1033 Investigation class this Wednesday and back on shift on Thursday. Hopefully, I will be rid of this Strep Throat that I have been blessed with for the past several days.

Apparently there haven’t been any fires or major incidents in the past couple of weeks. At least not from what I have heard. I haven’t been reading the papers though either.

James Mone will be on the news on August 1st from what I understand. News Channel 10 came and rode along with him on Medic 2 doing a “day in the life of…” type story.

Stay Safe

STATter 911: Charleston Mayor: 9 Firefighters Killed.

Follow this link to information, pictures, and raw video of the fire yesterday that claimed the lives of 9 Charleston Firefighters.

Can someone please help me and send me the list of recruits. I need it to finish the story. The pictures are so-so. If anyone has any photos to share email them to me.


Obituary notice:

Matthias J. (Matty) Kargl, 62, of Roanoke, passed away Wednesday, May 16, 2007. Matty was an avid motorcycle enthusiast and lover of all animals. He was an active member of AA who was always willing to carry the message of recovery to others. Surviving are his daughter, Karma Kargl; mother, Dorothy Sundberg; sister, Mary Door, all of New York. A memorial service will be conducted Saturday, May 19, 2007 at Simpson Funeral Home 5160 Peters Creek Road by Frank Santoroski. The family will receive friends following the service. Arrangements by Simpson Funeral Home & Crematory, 366-0707.

I got an email from Jim Cady giving me the information on Matthias.

He wrote:

Mattie was a colorful roanoke charactor, a genuinely nice guy. Lots of people would know him by his first name or description only. Recently He helped to do the Machinist work on the brass pole legs for the table at station #1. Because of that, I thought it might make a good post for your blog.

If anyone has anything to add please let me know.

Hey guys, I am in Boston for a couple more days. I have some stuff to post, but I am not going to do it right now. Keep sending stuff in though, I will get to it eventually.
The Roanoke Firefighters have established a flag football team. Headed up by the guys at 2 C Shift, the team has practiced several times and played one game. The team consists of somewhere around 20 firefighters. Roanoke County has also established a team and they were our opponent for the first game. Unfortunately we lost. I am not sure of the score, but I do understand that all of the guys really had a good time. I also heard that there was a pretty decent crowd on hand to watch the first game.

Why flag football, you might ask. Because if it were tackle football it would more than likely turn into a bloodbath, and because we are not able to work if we are injured.

I was able to practice with the team at one of the practices although I could not make it to the game. It is always good when the guys get some time away from the job and their part time jobs and get together for some good clean fun.

If anyone has pictures of the event, send them in so I can post them.

Look for the Roanoke Firefighters flag football team to play again sometime soon. I think that Salem is planning on getting a team together.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. If you are a turkey hunter and are working today, you might want to try and improve your skills with this game. As for the Roanoke Firefighters who are working todya, this is what you have to look forward to:

The volunteers from Fellowship Community Church (located on Red Ln. in Salem), will be dropping off your meal on Thanksgiving morning before 11am!

The meal will consist of:

  • Turkey
  • Mashed Potatos & Gravy
  • Sweet Potatos
  • Vegetables
  • Stuffing
  • Bread & Butter
  • Cranberries
  • Dessert
  • Cool Whip
Thanks to the kind volunteers who are cooking for us. I think I can speak on behalf of all the firefighters working today by saying THANK YOU and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Pics were added to the Clarendon Fire post below. Check them out.

Suzanne Hanks, 57, of Hardy, died Friday morning November 17, 2006 as the result of injuries received in an automobile accident. Suzanne was a paralegal with Woods, Rogers. She loved life and bluegrass music, and gardening. She is survived by her husband, Michael Hanks; son, Joshua Hanks of Blacksburg; daughter and son-in-law, Shannon and Adam Waldron of Roanoke; grandchildren, Destiny and Rusty; parents, Russell and Virginia Yingst of Lebanon, Pa.; brothers, David Yingst of Lebanon, Pa. and Rusty Yingst of Jonestown, Pa. The family suggests memorial donations be made to the Red Valley Rescue Squad, 3017 Burnt Chimney Rd., Wirtz, Va. 24184. A memorial service will be conducted from Flora Funeral Chapel 4 p.m. Sunday. Her family will be receiving friends 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Flora Funeral Service, 665 S. Main St., Rocky Mount.
Published in the Roanoke Times from 11/18/2006 – 11/19/2006.
It is with deepest regret that I am informing you of the death of Suzanne (Sue) Hanks, Wife of Captain Mike Hanks (retired). Sue was killed in a single vehicle accident this morning around 7 am on the way to work. Sue will be missed by her firefighting family and our thoughts and prayers will be with Mike and the rest of the Hanks family in this time of sorrow.

For those of you who are newer to the department, Mike Hanks retired as a Captain in 2002 and was the Secretary/Treasurer for Local 1132 for 10 years. He is currently the Secretary/Treasurer for the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters Association. Mike has been a strong voice for Firefighters across the State for many years.

Mike and Sue were a team. He would not have had time for half the stuff he accomplished without the strong support and help of his wife Sue.

Recently, I got to spend time with both Mike and Sue in Toronto during the IAFF Convention. We all had a great time, and it was neat to get to know Sue after knowing Mike for many years.

I will update as more information is announced.

WDBJ7 story on Suzanne Hanks

Above – View from Elm Avenue – 3 bays
Above – View from Franklin Road
Here is the new Fire Station. From what I hear, the exterior should be nearing completion soon, so they can keep going on the interior for a Spring 2007 opening. Just thought I would show some pictures for those of you who don’t frequent that area. From what I hear, the station will incorporate poles which is not very common in newly constructed fire stations.
Main Street Newspapers:
Kaine appoints county fire chief to board
By Gene Marrano
Fire and Rescue Chief Rick Burch

Gov. Tim Kaine announced his appointment of Chief Richard E. Burch Jr. to the Virginia Fire Services Board.

Burch is the fire chief for Roanoke County Fire and Rescue and will be representing the Virginia Fire Services Council, of which he is a board member. Burch will serve a four year term that began July 1. (Read More)

There are two stories including pictures featured on today about Roanoke Fire-EMS. Check them out. Thanks to Travis Collins for writing up the events. – Virginia’s Premiere Fire and EMS News Site:

Roanoke – Roanoke Fire-EMS Responds to Regional Haz Mat Call. On Monday October 30 2006 the Roanoke Fire EMS Haz Mat Team was called upon to response for a tractor trailer wreck on Rt 220 Southbound just south of Rocky Mount Virginia in Franklin County.

Do you like your benefits?
Would you like to give your input on your benefits?
Have you complained about your benefits?

Fill out the Roanoke City Employee Benefits Survey
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The deadline is tomorrow

Tell everyone in your station and all of your coworkers
pass the word along.